To Careers; The German Roots of Outcome Based Education
Have you ever noticed that when a program gets lots of criticism or has been found to have its beginnings based on somewhat dubious agendas, it goes through a number of name changes? The institutional memory of most folks is somewhat short, so typically a program name change and a few tweaks is usually enough to throw most people off track, as well as make them believe that the offending program has died in some committee somewhere and it's funding has also dried up. This is precisely the case with Goals 2000, also known as Outcome Based Education also known as School To Work also known now as School To Career or Work Based Learning. With all of the different names and versions, it sort of reminds me of the serial criminal trying to hide under various fake aliases. Let's take a look at the roots of Outcome Based Education, because I think what you'll see might surprise you.
The American system of education was originally based on the Prussian model (http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/7a.htm ), so it only stands to reason that other components of German schooling have been "borrowed" by those who shape our current education policies. John Taylor Gatto writes in his book, "The Underground History of American Education":
me to quote, with page numbers, from the 1983 book, Nazism: A History
in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, 1919-1945, edited by J. Noakes
and G. Pridham, and I will share with you some very interesting comparisons.
First and foremost the fascist government held the belief that it
was of utmost importance to capture the children:
or bad, doesn't the American public school system obsessively engage
in teaching children the evils of gun ownership, saving the whales,
not to smoke cigarettes or eat meat, accepting homosexuality, dutifully
recycling, and eschewing any kind of non prescription drug use? There's
more, but the list is long and I think you get the idea. There are
other interesting messages being disseminated in our "national
standards." Whatever happened to teaching children about ethics
or the simple purpose of learning and mastering reading, writing,
and arithmetic? My own child spent time in school making quilts for
AIDS babies compromising the time spent on reading and writing instruction.
Subsequently, when his skills went below expectations, the administration
wanted him tested for a "learning disability." Thank goodness
I had the sense to tell them it was hogwash, removed him from government
school, and began to teach him at home. With all of the money we pour
into education, and all of the curriculum specialists and special
programs, we still have an abominable standing in education as compared
to other countries. It never used to be that way. Why? It is because
we have adopted models that replaced the ones that used to work quite
well for us. The Prussian model, as well as education policies which
were employed by Hitler and Stalin, influenced the birth of our current
system, and soon you'll see how that came about.
So now that we have most children as a captive audience in the public/government schools, we must also decide what they need to do with their lives, and funnel them into the pipeline of appropriate tracks of study. In 1989 the National Governors' Association Conference on Education, met in Charlottesville, VA and was convened by President George H.W. Bush. Its purpose was to discuss a new emphasis on public and secondary education. The conference was led by Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and the outcome of this conference was the birth of National Education Goals. Soon after President Bill Clinton took office these goals were expanded and the name was changed to Goals 2000, also known as the Educate America Act which President Clinton signed in 1994. This of course evolved into our present No Child Left Behind legislation, signed by President George W. Bush. Coupled with this education reform, two other pieces of legislation changed the purpose and direction of education. They were the 1994 School-to-Work Opportunities Act (STW), which represented workforce preparation, and the 1998 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) which federalized American job training and economic development. These were the components to the current roadmap towards a planned economy for the US. Our children are no longer just kids that should be educated, but rather "human capital." We are basically seeing the establishment of a three way partnership between of government, business, and educational institutions right before our eyes. http://www.edwatch.org/pdfs/US%20planned%20economy%20-v2.2c%20pdf.pdf
Each state has been quietly revising their content and graduation standards, by which all are assessed and this is being done in conjunction with the established "national standards" in each area of study. Just in case anyone has forgotten, we do have a Tenth Amendment in the Constitution of the US and it spells out quite clearly that the powers not enumerated by the Constitution to the Federal Government are the responsibility of the states. Education is one such power. Yet we are now getting most education mandates from the federal government, enacted state by state only because states are being coerced with federal money to do so. Consider for a moment this quote (p.344, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich), "Prior to 1933, the German public schools had been under the jurisdiction of the local authorities and the universities under that of the individual states. Now all were brought under the iron rule of the Reich Minister of Education." I'd say we have to be real mindful of government taking over education, despite the fact that this has already essentially occurred.
the passage of the Federal School-to-Work Opportunities Act, Connecticut's
General Assembly passed and the Governor signed into law Public Act
94-116, "An Act Concerning Incentives and Training for High Performance
Work Organizations and the School-to-Work Certificate Program."
This 1994 statute outlined broad statewide goals for a School To Work
system, calling for all students to obtain information about career
development, focus on high academic standards, and participate in
what is so bad about training a child to be prepared for the workforce
by the time they leave high school? What is so terrible about a government
planned economy? It can be argued that this is a good thing which
would prevent kids from getting fancy degrees and ending up waiting
tables. It assures that we have adequate training and no employment
gluts or dearth. Well, I am not convinced of that because anywhere
there has been a planned economy things just have not worked out too
well. Narrowing an individual's choice is never a good thing. How
is it ever a good thing when an individual's freedom is secondary
to society's business need? Is it really right to have an 8th grader
either take an aptitude test which decides what fields s/he should
go into versus allowing them to explore their dreams? What if this
child decides in two years that the track they have been put on is
just not for them? It's bad enough having your parents tell you that
they want you to be a doctor, let alone the government dictating what
you should be doing with your life. Just the notion that high school
class time is now being used as labor training (job shadowing) is
cause for concern. These kids should be learning the things that could
take them anywhere in life, not just one destination. This is what
School To Work (STW) or School To Career (STC) is all about, choosing
a career at a young age, being tracked into a "learning cluster,"
and having very limited choices upon completion. Instead of a general
diploma, you receive a Certificate of Career Competency, Certificate
of Initial Mastery, or as it is called in CT, the "Connecticut
Career Certificate" (CCC) which is supposed to demonstrate your
competency in one of eight "career clusters." It's supposed
to give you a leg up on others that do not have this certification.
There are at least 118 CT school districts, 70% of all schools statewide,
which are approved to award the CCC in the following clusters:
really want to get global you can even pursue the International Baccalaureate
Diploma, but that is a subject for whole other article. Interesting
to note is that government and education share the same cluster.
the School to Work programs and let's make a few comparisons here: taken
from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer, 1950,
it shock you to know that similar documents currently exist in our
schools? In Connecticut we have what is called "CT Learns"
or "Work Based Learning" which includes all of the paperwork
necessary to partner with an employer while attending high school.
State Department of Education webpage contains all of the information
about School to Careers http://www.state.ct.us/sde/deps/Career/STC/index.htm
. Every state has these programs, and they exist under various names,
but it is all the same thing. Kids today have to develop a lifework
plan which is included as one components of their stated Profile of
Learning, and in CT it looks like this:
The stated goal is "to introduce the concept of a counselor-guided education and career development process that helps the student/learner, and her/his parents, develop a secondary and post-secondary education and career plan, connecting the student's program of studies with future aspirations. The plan, which is unique to each student/learner, connects school-based activities and work-based activities with career exploration activities, and relates secondary and post-secondary decision-making to these experiences through a thoughtful, exploratory process. This process, while helping to identify personal strengths, talents and goals, hones decision-making skills that will benefit the student/learner throughout life."
they do this in conjunction with signed agreements/contracts made
out with various participating employers. http://www.state.ct.us/sde/deps/Career/WB/WB_Plan.pdf
In CT, the CT Business and Industry Association (CBIA) is very heavily
involved in the process. The connections are there in every state.
So basically we have a very neat arrangement happening whereby the
state through education funding, courtesy of the taxpayer, will pay
to train the human "resources" according to corporate standards,
and with birth to three programs and universal preschool in place,
corporate training can essentially begin in infancy. And yet, one
may wonder why we are still turning out kids who cannot compute 10%
of a number, give correct change at a cash register, or write a simple
about it for a moment. We have been told by CT State Board of Education
administrators that these programs are dead and no longer funded by
the federal government, and that they are voluntary in nature and
not in place at all schools. But the programs are real and they are
in place. The infrastructure for a planned economy is being constructed
right under our noses, and no one is complaining, not even the kids
who are being tracked. We have come so far away from what the purpose
of school is. We should be educating our youth to be well rounded
individuals with a strong knowledge of basic material. Instead we
have set up programs to create curriculum and tests that reflect the
skill set requirements for various jobs as well as some of the psychological
behaviors necessary to become productive and compliant employees.
Our children have become mere "human resource material."
The education establishment believes firmly that a high school diploma
no longer guarantees anything with regard to employment opportunities
and that kids need to be better prepared to go into specific careers
or to go on to college. They also believe that these programs are
a way to help kids become better prepared for the work environment.
They say that the job market is a much more complicated place now
and that kids need to be able to do job shadowing and interning in
order to figure out what they want to do in life. The question remains:
is it the school's job to do this? Subsequently, colleges are upset
that kids are showing up with none of the skills that they need to
succeed in specific studies and spend much time in remedial or catch
up courses to prepare them for a specific course of study. One would
think that classes in high school should adequately prepare kids for
college and that skills in many careers are very transferable. Colleges
expect that most kids attending college are undeclared in majors for
the first two years, which is why they usually have a broad course
of study and general course requirements which are covered in those
first two years.
that the job training that STW promotes requires time away from school
to job-shadow or work at a business. It has been reported that some
of these kids are even job shadowing in places which are typically
low paying jobs like Burger King. Is it right for kids to give up
time studying math, reading, writing and other subjects in place of
performing work? Proponents say that after a child returns from the
work place they must write something about it, and thereby they are
incorporating the academics into the work experience. They say that
kids need to see the reason why they have to learn certain subjects,
like algebra and how those skills are needed or relevant in the workplace.
Where is the notion that one learns for the sake of enlightenment
and self-growth rather than because one day you will have to know
it? Kids are not being shown that the reason they learn geometry is
not because they will use it in their job but because it teaches them
a way to think logically. Education policy has truly lost its way
and the taxpayers and children are paying a heavy price for a system
set upon them by business and the state.
diligence in protecting freedom, allowing creeping incrementalism
of socialist and fascist ideas may be our downfall. As I do not place
the blame squarely on "liberalism" itself, I offer this
quote by Norman Thomas, a Socialist and member of the Civil Liberties
Union: "The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism,
but under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of
the Socialist program until one day America will be a Socialist nation
without ever knowing how it happened."
The question is: what will you do about it?
The Underground History of American Education - John Taylor Gatto
http://www.beverlye.com/ - The Cloning of the American Mind - Beverly Eakman
Learning a Living: A Blueprint for High Performance - A SCANS Report for America 2000, U.S. Dept. of Labor, 1992